Are you experiencing night vision issues? Seeing correctly in low light is something every one of us relies on, yet many people suffer from poor vision in the evening; especially with age. Read this week’s article to learn more about why night vision issues appear and what can be done about it. We hope you enjoy it!
Human eyes are far less capable of seeing well at night naturally. One large component missing in our night vision is color. Our eyes are more or less color blind after a certain point of darkness. In a previous blog post, “How Do We See Color” Dr. Sharma highlighted the parts of the eye responsible for interpreting light:
“The part of the eye responsible for this amazing process is called the retina. The retina has light-sensitive photoreceptors, which help interpret light. There are two types of photosensors: rods and cones. Rods are located mostly at the edge of the retina and are responsible for helping see in dim light settings. These photosensors are not sensitive to colour and help interpret white and black information to the brain. Whereas cones function to see colour in bright light and are found mainly in the center of the retina. Cones are sensitive to red, green, and blue light.”
This is why night vision is seen in black and white. So now that we know how we see at night, let’s move on to why issues appear at night.
Why Do Night Vision Issues Appear?
Not being able to see properly at night is pretty obvious and in some cases having poor night vision can be easily fixed with corrective glasses or lenses. In this case, night vision issues are simply due to refractive errors, which are present in the daytime as well. However, in other cases, there could be serious and undiagnosed reasons for poor night vision, which can include LASIK eye surgery or cataracts. In the case of someone with cataracts, night vision is affected due to the inability of enough light being transmitted to the back of the eye. The amount of light that does reach the back of the eyes is ultimately reflected and causes glare.
Other reasons for your poor night vision could be due to a severe deficiency in vitamin A or Zinc. If you are noticing halos around lights or are just simply having a hard time seeing after dark, it’s time to visit your local family eye care center as there could be other eye health issues present.
How Will My Night Vision Issues Be Diagnosed?
Because there can be several different underlying conditions which are responsible for your poor night vision, diagnosis may require a blood test, an eye exam, and or even seeing a specialist. However, generally, it is advised that if you are experiencing eye issues at night that you see your Doctor of Optometry first. He or she will discuss your symptoms with you and then complete a full eye assessment. Once the cause of your eye issues is identified a treatment plan can be mapped.
What Treatments Are Available?
If you have astigmatism and this is found to be the cause for your night vision issues, your optometrist will prescribe you corrective eyeglasses or lenses. Those with cataracts can opt for cataract surgery, which replaces their old cataract with an artificial one. This procedure is generally deemed safe and highly successful for patients. Those lacking essential vitamins or minerals will be directed by their doctors on how to increase levels and likely be monitored through regular blood tests.
For those who have an underlying condition such as diabetes, it is extremely important that it is kept in check as prevention is the best defense from possible irreversible diabetic related eye blindness. This occurs because of blood vessel and nerve damage to the back of the eyes. Diabetics should be getting regular eye exams to ensure diabetic retinopathy has not developed and to catch it as early as possible. Treatment may include injections, and or surgery. Check out the National Eye Institutes article on diabetic related eye issues, symptoms, and treatments for more information.
We are Victoria, BC’s family eye care center, and we look forward to serving you!